Updated January 1st
Please note I have had to change my email address , which now is laurie.manser@gmail.com please use  this if you wish to contact me.
I do hope that some of the hints will be of use to you, I can only say what I do and why I do it
 as , there is not a right or wrong way of doing things in gardening .
I did write a small book about my life from a garden boy in the 40's and we sold it when I did my "Memory" talk, we donated 50p per book to the British Heart Foundation who received over £1000.00 as a result. I do not get it printed now but on the right is a link by which you can download it to read.
I have been asked to put my talk on to a disc for those who have been unable to hear it, I have done this and a few discs are available ,please email me for details.
At the bottom of this page if you click on "older posts" there are more hints

Garden Hints for January

We really have had a strange autumn/winter so far what with the temperature being much higher than normal some plants are acting in different ways. Often I get asked what shall  I do with out of season fruits etc. There is nothing you can do to change the weather conditions but do not be tempted to start covering things up too much or you will run into the problem of when to take the covers off. 
It really does depend on the weather what if anything you can do this month in your garden. Leeks and parsnips can still be harvested, even when the ground is frozen you can usually break the surface so as to get the crop out.
Sprouts and other cabbage family crops can be harvested as needed.
Watch out for the pigeons if we get snow as the taller crops only may be open for them to see and eat.
Clay type soil can be dug and left rough for the weather to help break down.
Seed potatoes should be laid out in trays with the eyes uppermost so that they can form god strong short spurs ready for planting later , they do need full daylight but frost free conditions.
Your trench for runner beans can be prepared using plenty of compost or rotted manure , so that it has time to settle for planting much later.
You can when the weather is suitable still plant raspberry and other cane fruits,
I would tend to leave potted things like strawberries until a little later when the soil starts to warm.
It is not too late if you want to prune other fruits, most fruit on older wood or spurs so they need to have some of the new growth reduced leaving a good open centre but blackcurrants fruit on wood formed the previous summer so should have been pruned soon after fruiting to encourage new wood.
Red currants, white currants and gooseberries make good cordon plants which will take up much less space. However do make sure they are not a variety that tends to have a weeping habit.
You can check any dahlia or similar tubers that are in store, early chrysanthemums can be started into growth if you have facilities for taking and growing cuttings.
If your indoor hyacinths after flowering are kept watered and frost free  they can be planted out in the garden to flower in later years.
Now is a good time to give your daffodils a light dressing of a high potash feed to help with the colour and growth of new bulbs, I generally use Vitax  Q4.
You are best to leave the lawns alone in frosty cold weather unless there are still some leaves to clear

Seed Potatoes

Have just bought the seed potatoes for this year I am going to try the blight resistant Sarpo ones to see how they go. The local "experts" on the radio say it is much too early to start to chit potatoes but this is what I have done for many  years with no problems but the we all do it different. I am sure our grand daughter will look after them.

more onion news

Following my pictures of my onions growing , I entered the local show with 8 entries giving me 4 firsts and 4 seconds including 2 cups , one of which was for onions. I have said I would  put details of what I do for white rot in onions. As soon as possible after I lift the crop I spread garlic powder over the soil.I use "Nutritional Garlic Powder " the is intended for horses, it costs £2.45 for 500g  bought online. this does mean I use the same plot each  year that some people will not agree with but that is my way. I dig the soil before planting in the spring, and avoid walking from other areas onto my onion bed.

Onion 2016


I am putting these pictures onto my website to show the effect of using garlic powder for white rot. When I first took over this plot I suffered a complete loss of my onion crop due to white rot, I have treated this area with garlic powder and this year they really do look good. I just need some sun to help ripen them up.